Just Do It
Honeymoons that go beyond the lounge chair
Atop a sturdy thoroughbred steed you and your groom canter among a dazzle of zebras as if you’ve entered a fairytale. While your guide leads you across the flaxen expanse of Tanzania’s Serengeti plain, you ride close enough to see the wild creatures up close. They have velvety noses and limpid, alert eyes. Like your horse, they chortle, snuffle and neigh as they gallivant through the grassland. When a tower of giraffes joins the throng, your horse leaps deftly across an elephant-crushed Acacia tree. “Jumping for joy,” says your guide. Nearby, some meditative wildebeest stare as if watching a parade, a tree holds a committee of colorful birds and an eland antelope feeds. On the horizon, a herd of elephants top a ridge, their profiles outlined against an azure sky. This equestrian safari at Singita Grumeti Reserve, organized by award-winning outfitter Micato Safaris, leads you to embrace what writer Karen Blixen called “the rhythm of Africa.” Just married and exploring the bush on horseback, you feel vibrant. Later, when you arrive to Singita Explore, a mobile, luxury-tented campsite, you sip champagne beneath the stars, nibble a gourmet dinner and dream about what tomorrow’s romp through the bush will bring.
Adventure-packed honeymoons, like this upmarket East African safari, ensure lifelong memories. Choosing to do something active, daring or exotic binds you closer to your true love for life. Though relaxing on a sandy crescent in a tropical setting has its appeal, some couples are opting for post-wedding holidays that require more. They seek a challenge: a trip that takes them beyond their comfort zone. These lovers want to pump up the adrenaline, fulfill fantasies and enrich their minds. Doing something monumental together will live forever in the mind, only growing more meaningful over the coming years.
Where To Go
Lucienne Gore of Town & Country Travel says couples don’t need to travel far to work up a sweat. “I’ve been sending lots of newlyweds to St. Lucia, part of the Lesser Antilles in the Eastern Caribbean Sea,” she remarks. “There, they can hike the rainforest, whiz across the sky on ziplines or bounce along the landscape in ATVs. Afterward, when they finally get tired, there’s always the beach.” Melinda Bourgeois of Travel Central Vacations enthuses about Costa Rica, a diverse Central American mecca just a short flight from New Orleans. “There is so much to do there—and it is just so beautiful,” she says. Bourgeois suggests: learning to surf at funky hamlets such as Playa Tamarindo on the Pacific side, deep sea fishing, riding pontoon boats through the canals of the Guanacaste Region or wandering the trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest. She suggests staying in treehouse-like hotels, where couples can watch monkeys play in the branches.
More time, more adventure
Divers should head to Fiji, a South Pacific nation composed of more than 300 islands. Make like a castaway and bunk at the luxurious Royal Davui, an adults only resort located on its own secluded islet. Dotting the Beqa Lagoon, this paradise has 16 cliff-side, ocean-view vales (their word for villas), multiple beaches, a swimming pool and friendly Fijian staff willing to cater to energetic twosomes. Take advantage of 10 world-class dive sites that encircle Royal Davui, including a shipwreck just off shore. Fearless paramours can swim with the sharks at one location, where nine species (from Tiger to Lemon) lurk. Considered one of the “two best shark experiences in the world,” this one on the Beqa Lagoon takes divers down without cages. You’ll be enveloped in a frenzy of fish to witness marine biologists feed the bevy of beasts. Back at the resort, between dives, couples can race through the waves on Hobie Cats (Royal Davui’s dive master is a member of the national youth sailing team), snorkel, visit a traditional Fijian village to hear a children’s choir croon, quaff the national beverage known as kava or river raft through the soaring canyons of the mainland.
For wildlife enthusiasts, the endangered mountain gorilla awaits Rwanda. Track them in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park with Volcanoes Safaris, where you’ll follow a ranger into the thickly wooded bamboo forest in search of these majestic apes. Gentle giants, brought to world attention by the late Dian Fossey, they live in family groups, lorded over by a gargantuan Silverback. Once you come across the brood, you’ll spend a joyous hour in their presence, monitoring and photographing their frolicsome lifestyle in this natural habitat. When the day ends, return to Virunga Lodge to toast your day with a sundowner, and enjoy local entertainment and riveting views. Complete your trip with a stay at Gahinga Lodge (also operated by Volcanoes Safaris) in Uganda, where you can trek for golden monkeys or meet the indigenous forest people known as the pygmies.
Six Senses Yao Noi
On the shore of the Adaman Sea in Southern Thailand, Phang Nga Province holds a number of lesser-developed islands. Find Six Senses Yao Noi on one of them, 45-minutes by boat from Phuket. Composed of individual villas, that overlook the sea, this intimate and transporting resort roots deeply into Thai culture to reflect an indulgent, yet authentic experience, with a centerpiece based on sustainability. Comprised of an organic garden and mushroom hut, free-roaming hens, a spa with locally inspired treatments and a yoga platform that hovers over the emerald waters, Six Senses Yao Noi keeps active guests on point with water sports, a Thai boxing ring, individual swimming pools and bicycling outings. Not to be missed is a kayaking excursion through the mangroves on Tha Lane Bay and rock climbing the mystical karst formations that jut from the sea.
You don’t have to wear matching lederhosen and mount a bicycle built for two to pedal across Austria—but you could. Bike Tours Direct organizes bike tours throughout Europe for besotted pairs (or larger groups). They’ll deliver your suitcases from hotel to hotel while you cycle along well-marked paths at your own pace. Choose the route along the Danube from Passau to Vienna to see ancient castles, vineyards, orchards and evocative villages. Or, take to the hills of the Salzkammergut in “Sound of Music” country. There, you can belt out a tune as you ascend peaks and pass by the limpid lakes which make this district near Salzburg famous.
Have room in your relationship for a llama? You may want to adopt one after he joins you on one of Paragon Guide’s hut-to-hut llama hikes along the pine-flanked trails that wind from Vail to Aspen. Or, once the snow falls, strap on some skis and relish those backcountry trails S-turn style, guide in tow. Choose Vail for your tryst to hammer down life-altering slopes a deux—like the apropos, Lovers Leap. Ensconced in style at the Four Seasons Vail, you can ice climb, dog sled, winter horseback-ride or heli-ski. Tuck into the ritzy Elevation Residences at Solaris for the Weston Snowboard package, which gets you handmade, bespoke snowboards or skis to commemorate your union.
Wherever you go, you’ll come home to rest. But, honestly, you wouldn’t want it any other way.
For more information
Honeymoon Ideas: Virtuoso.com
Micato Safaris: Micato.com
St. Lucia: StLuciaNow.com
Costa Rica: VisitCostaRica.com
Royal Davui: RoyalDavuiFiji.com
Volcanoes Safaris: VolcanoesSafaris.com
Six Senses Yao Noi: SixSenses.com
Tourism Thailand: Tourismthailand.org
Bike Tours Direct: BikeTours.com